The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines a scholarship or fellowship grant as an amount given to an individual for study, training, or research, and which does not constitute compensation for personal services. 

Scholarship and Fellowship Income received by United States Citizens or Permanent Resident Aliens

The Internal Revenue Service determined that grant making institutions are not required to withhold tax or to report scholarship or fellowship payments to US citizens and residents. Scholarships and fellowships may not be tax free and the individual receiving it may have to pay taxes to the IRS when he/she files his/her income tax return. Please keep in mind that UW employees cannot give tax advice. Therefore, in order to determine if all or part of a scholarship/fellowship income is taxable please consult your tax advisor or IRS Publication 970Estimated quarterly tax payments may need to be remitted on the taxable amount.

Scholarship and Fellowship Income received by Nonresident Aliens (NRA)

Generally, scholarships and fellowships with a United States Source of Income are subject to NRA tax withholding. However, tuition is usually tax exempt.

Some countries have tax treaties with the United States that may contain exemptions for withholdings for scholarships and fellowships. Tax Treaty benefits are not automatic and the University of Washington is not obligated to extend them. In cases where there is doubt about eligibility of an individual to claim tax treaty benefits, the University will not extend them. However, individuals may still claim the benefits directly when filing income tax returns. In order to claim tax treaty benefits, the individual must:

  • be a resident of the country from which he/she is claiming the tax treaty benefits.
  • have a J-1 or F-1 immigration status.
  • be a non resident alien for tax purposes in the United States.
  • have his/her social security number on file at the office that is processing payments (Payroll, SFS, ICA).
  • submit the proper documentation to the office that is processing payments (Payroll, SFS, ICA). 

List of tax treaty countries. 

There are several offices at the University of Washington that may process payments for scholarships and fellowships. Student Fiscal Services (SFS) manages all tuition scholarships, students' awards or prizes and scholarships processed by SFS. ICA (Intercollegiate Athletics) manages scholarships paid to athletes. Finally, payroll manages scholarships processed through the Payroll System (OPUS). For information about your scholarship or fellowship or to ask about the documents that you must submit, please contact the office that processes your payment:

Student Fiscal Services

Li-Chang Wong, 206-221-2621,

Intercollegiate Athletics

John T. Brotherton, 206-543-2220,

Payroll Office

If you receive scholarship or fellowship income that is processed through the Payroll Office you must register in the Glacier System. Forms and documentation required to assess tax treaty eligibility are completed through Glacier. For additional questions please send an email to